Competence: Some people just don’t have it

Our world, emergency services, is a small one. Somehow, somewhere, someone knows someone who knows something about you.

Some years ago I heard this story from another medic about this firefighter/medic that I see on calls every now and then.

We’re going to this auto-ped. We get there, the guy’s on the ground, and this firefighter/medic has an IV catheter stuck in the patient’s arm. The patient looks OK but he totally meets criteria for the trauma center.

“We need an IV bag spiked!”

“Uh, maybe you should have thought of that before you poked him.”


“‘Please’ would be nice. How ’bout we strip him and c-spine him instead? Were you planning on that at some point today?”


So I go into the ambulance and grab some gauze and tape. I pull the IV catheter out and tape the gauze over the site.

“Now, can we c-spine him like we know what we’re doing?”

Needless to say, the firefighter/medic was pissed.

4 thoughts on “Competence: Some people just don’t have it”

  1. Yeah… fire fighter/medic seems to have forgotten the rule about ABCs before ALS. As a rule we frown on doing advanced stuff out in the middle of the street. Even more so if you haven’t done the basic stuff that needs to be done first, like airway, breathing, circulation, and of course c spine immobilization (if indicated). A lot of medics get themselves into trouble that way.

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